May 13, 2010, 2:00 PM

Moosejaw adds videos to its madness

Outdoor gear and apparel retailer is adding videos to its often offbeat e-commerce site—while optimizing them for YouTube and Google’s search engine crawlers. But like anything Moosejaw does, the idea is to be anything but traditional.

Katie Evans

Managing Editor, International Research

Outdoor gear and apparel retailer is adding videos to its often offbeat e-commerce site—while optimizing them for YouTube and Google’s search engine crawlers. But like anything Moosejaw does, the idea is to be anything but traditional.

The plan is to start adding product videos for its top 100 best-selling items in late summer. The retailer, which is re-launching its site in July, will incorporate the less than one minute clips onto product pages as alternate views users can click on in addition to traditional product images, says Eoin Comerford, vice president of marketing for Moosejaw.

Like most marketing the retailer does, the videos will have their own Moosejaw-esque flair. While details are still being hammered out, Comerford says brainstorming sessions have included Japanese monster movie themes with audio about products dubbed over the movie script, to using a green screen to show an attractive model showcasing, say, a North Face jacket, with untraditional, unappealing images in the background such as massive close-ups of insects.

“It’s not going to be your standard boring guy standing there, wearing a jacket,” Comerford says. “That is, unless it’s a parody, in which case it would be an <i>extremely</i> boring guy, just to make a point.”

Moosejaw, No. 277 in the <a href="">Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide</a>, chose e-commerce video vendor Invodo for its program. While the special videos with Moosejaw flair will be incorporated into the retailer’s new web site, Moosejaw is getting started earlier by adding videos provided from its manufacturers such as outdoor clothing and gear maker Marmot.

Moosejaw says it chose Invodo because it can produce and host the videos specifically for Moosejaw, and because it has many clients in the outdoor gear and apparel industry, meaning it already works with many Moosejaw manufacturers to create videos that the retailer can post on its site.

In addition, Invodo can modify videos especially for YouTube, including a call to action to encourage shoppers to visit, and it optimizes videos for natural search, Comerford says.

Comerford says Invodo technology incorporates videos directly into a web site, meaning that Google search engine crawlers will see the pieces as unique rich media content on the Moosejaw site—not as coming from a third-party vendor or hosting provider. Other programs Comerford examined were labeled by crawlers as coming from an outside source and thus not original content, Comerford says.

“With Invodo, from Google’s perspective, the videos are part of our site, Comerford says. This can lead to higher search rankings for Moosejaw, Comerford says.

To add the videos, Moosejaw will visit Invodo’s management site where Moosejaw staffers can upload a single video or several videos via file transfer protocol, or FTP. There, the retailer adds metadata to tell search engine crawlers what a video is about and assigns each video a product ID that corresponds with its product catalog ID. It then incorporates a snippet of code that enables the video to make a call to the Invodo server to see if the product ID of an item a consumer is viewing has a corresponding video. If so, the page will automatically display a play button consumers can click to launch the video.

“It’s literally like saying, ‘I have a customer looking at product 12345. Invodo, do we have a video for that?’ If we do, it will launch,” Comerford says. The auto-find feature saves Moosejaw the tedious work of having to manually go into each product page and add a video, Comerford says.

Invodo has its own studios, but Comerford says the vendor will travel to Moosejaw’s suburban Detroit offices to help it shoot videos there. Invodo is charging Moosejaw a monthly fee for hosting and serving the videos that is tiered based on the number it streams each month.’s web sales totaled $35.4 million last year, according to <i>Internet Retailer</i> estimates, about the same as the retailer’s estimated sales for 2008.


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